Monday, June 1, 2015

CRAP OR GET OFF THE POT TIME AS FINAL BOUNDARIES REPORT NEARS

The 2015 Stack Boundaries Commission is nearly done its work.

The Commission's deadline to submit its final report to the Minister of Justice and Public Safety by next Tuesday, June 9th.

The initial proposal for 40 one-member-electoral districts was released on April 10th. This was followed by province wide consultations that  provided the public with a full opportunity to make comments and suggestions. The public were afforded other avenues to participate including Skype, a  submission telephone line, website comment form, email, fax and regular mail. 

Rumors are swirling that the government is going to tie the election date to the new seat reduction. Depending on what date is proposed, the debate in the House of Assembly could be very rancorous - and take more precious time.

Elections Newfoundland and Labrador have a huge piece of work to do. The electoral map, with the exceptions of the four Labrador Seats and Fortune Bay-  Cape La Hune, has been radically changed. 

The non-partisan office will only have July and August to put together the voting lists, staff, polling stations and other infrastructure for the fixed election polling date of October 13th.

I do not think anyone is expecting that it will be logistically possible to be ready for October 13th but one would expect that ENL and the parties have been inputting data based on the preliminary report to ensure that only minor tweeks need to be considered when the final report is completed.

The most interesting show precipitated by the final report will be the nomination battles it spawns. With the exception of five seats, all three parties will have to hold fresh nominations in 35 seats. 

Incumbent and nominated candidates will face competitive nominations, Fiercely fought nomination battles will be re-fought. The window for preparation will be much shorter, meaning parties have to be logistically prepared for competitive races and the fall out they will most defiantly leave in their wake.

The Liberal Party is considering scrapping the cutoff dates for becoming a member and voting in a nomination. This will anyone over the age of 14, who wants to participate can sign up on the same day of the vote. This will have a significant impact on the outcome, as months of planning, signing-up and controlling membership lists will give way to a flood of candidates that just need to pack the halls. A return to snack pack democracy might ruffle a few feathers.

The Commission has done yeoman work. I am assuming they will hit the legislative deadline for submitting the final document. The final recommendations, if accepted, will be brought to the House of Assembly post haste,within 10 days of receipt.


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